At a meeting today the Minister for Transport and Technical Services said that he hoped that the same community spirit that came out during the snow, when people were providing lifts for others, would help ease the pressure on the skeleton bus service that LibertyBus will be providing.
At the meeting, attended by representatives from the Environment Scrutiny Committee, the Acting Chief Minister and other interested parties, LibertyBus announced that they have plans to operate a skeleton service during the strike and will also be operating a Sunday service on Bank Holiday Monday 26 August. The details of this schedule will be announced next week. Plans are in place for this information to go out through the media and in particular on the LibertyBus website.
Jersey Tourism and the airport and ports are being kept abreast of information as it is released to help visitors find out about the services that are available.
The Minister for Transport and Technical Services said: “LibertyBus are very customer focussed and do not want to see bus users inconvenienced by this proposed strike action. Although they will not be able to provide a full service, they are working on plans to provide a restricted service that will go a long way to help provide transport particularly for those who have no alternative travel options. When we had the snow earlier this year, there was a great community spirit and people helped each other by providing lifts which took the pressure off the skeleton bus service that was operating then. I hope that this will happen again during the strike. The Connétables I have spoken to are very willing for anyone who has travel concerns over the strike period to contact their parish halls. I hope that we can build on this level of support and assistance and minimise the disruption.”
TTS are issuing the following advice for bus passengers to prepare for the bus strike:
• Check to see if your bus is running on www.libertybus.je (details of restricted timetable will be available on Wednesday 21 August)
• Arrange / offer a car share with friend, colleague or neighbour
• Consider walking or cycling
• If you want to take a taxi, book it in advance to avoid disappointment
• Consider working from home, if you can
• There may be more traffic on the roads so allow more time for your journey
• Pier Road Multi Storey normally has spare capacity for another 250 cars and there may well be a little spare capacity in Patriotic Street and Green Street (TTS will do its best to keep the public informed via the media and signage when car parks are full)
Deputy John Young, Chairman of the Environment Scrutiny Panel commented: “I fully support the TTS Minister and LibertyBus in their contingency plans to maintain essential public bus services in what will be difficult circumstances for the public. I still very much hope our drivers, who have made a major contribution to improvements in the Island’s bus services, will reconsider their decision to strike next week. The strike seems so unnecessary as we were informed the cause of their grievance will be resolved by the employment tribunal.”
Senator Ian Le Marquand, Acting Chief Minister said: “There is absolutely no justification for this strike action. This action has been taken over the dismissal of a member of staff who was convicted of driving without due care and attention in circumstances which led to an injury to a passenger. Furthermore, the dismissed driver has the right to go to an employment tribunal and if that tribunal finds the dismissal decision to be unfair, then LibertyBus has agreed to reconsider. I am sorry this action is being taken without proper consideration of the inconvenience to the travelling public. However, I need to strongly affirm the principle that the bus service in Jersey exists for the benefit of the people of Jersey and visitors to Jersey and is managed by LibertyBus. It does not exist for the benefit of nor is it managed by either the union leadership or the drivers.”